Using 1x6's to create table top - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 7 Old 10-23-2019, 03:08 PM Thread Starter
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Using 1x6's to create table top

I am building a new table for our breakfast nook. For the table top I will be gluing together several 1x6 finished boards and then trimming the assembled top down to final size. Back when I was in high school I would have run the piece through the planer after it was glued together to make sure the finished piece was flat and uniform at the seams. Since I don't have a commercial sized planer at home ( I have no planer at all), what are some "DIY home workshop" methods for accomplishing the same result?

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post #2 of 7 Old 10-23-2019, 05:06 PM
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The most common diy method to eliminating the difference in height is sanding. Might not be the easiest way, but is generally the way most woodworkers start out. The more sanding options you have (belt sanders, random orbital sanders, finish sanders) the easier it will be, but you can do it with just a block of wood and several grits of sandpaper if you have the patience and little money.

If you have a properly tuned smoothing plane it would go much faster.
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post #3 of 7 Old 10-23-2019, 05:24 PM
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My first questions are:
How large is the table top?
Are 3/4 inch (1x) boards thick enough for a table top?

Here are some ways to flatten the top:

* Pay a commercial service with a wide planer.
* Pay a commercial service with a drum sander.
* Hand planes and winding sticks. Requires much practice and skill.
* Router sled. Requires a decent router and building the sled. Some sanding after that. Search the internet.
* Belt sander and a good straightedge. Requires practice and skill to avoid making it worse, not better.
* Random orbital sander and a good straightedge. Check all directions very frequently. Don't sand in one place. If you have a low spot, you must bring the rest of the table down to match it. Takes time and patience, but low cost and relatively easy. Once flat, you can use the ROS with finer grits to do some finish sanding.
* Sanding block and sandpaper. When I was young, dumb, and poor, I hand-sanded a coffee table top with sandpaper wrapped around a block of cherry wood. Takes a lot of time and patience, but you earn bragging rights when you are done. Sand with the grain and check your work with a good straightedge.

Think about the thickness question.
Think about how you will prevent warping or cupping.
Think about how you will mount the top to the base in a way that allows for wood movement.
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post #4 of 7 Old 10-23-2019, 05:54 PM
where's my table saw?
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That won't go real well......

Typical 1 x 6 boards will have a slight cup or will get one. It's rare to find a board straight across in construction lumber. I would use Poplar or even Red Oak and have much better boards and a better looking finished product.

The glue up process isn't quite as simple as it appears. since the boards are 6" wide they will tend to cup unless you rip them down the center and reorient the grain. Sanding away the mismatch on the edges is one issue, but trying to sand out the cup is worse.

Secondly, a 3/4" thick top, what you will get from 1 X 6's, is not really very substantial. Personally, I wouldn't do it. It will work for a top 24" or less on the sides, but not much greater than that.

If you want a level, even and non-blotchy top why not use veneer plywood? It won't be subject to expansion and other issues that would plague a glued up top. Even a combination of hardwood thick veneer glued to plywood would make a better top. This top was made that way for a buddy:

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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post #5 of 7 Old 11-18-2019, 09:17 PM
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Do you have a biscuit joiner or a self-centering dowel jig?
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post #6 of 7 Old 11-18-2019, 10:18 PM
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wow that looks fantastic!
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post #7 of 7 Old 11-21-2019, 05:30 PM
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I've made edge-glued panels this way and it can be maddening, but I got acceptable results. One thing to realize is that you want the best flatness on just one side. In my experience the individual boards will vary slightly (less than a 1/16", but maybe as much as 1/32") and you cannot expect a perfect fit on both surfaces without a planer. So focus on one, the top. Use a solid flat surface to establish the good face. Then use all the clamps you can get your hands on. I have some pipe clamps but I like these better:

Even with a flat reference and a bunch of clamps, you'll still struggle to achieve a perfect seam along the full length of any two boards. The slightest warp will causes an unevenness. So apply the pressure with the clamps sequentially, taking care to even up the seam as you work along the board. I had to glue just two surfaces together and focus on a good seam to get good results. I wouldn't feel comfortable gluing multiple boards together at the same time. Just too many things that can go wrong.

How many 1x6's are you thinking of placing in parallel? It's hard to picture more than 3 or 4 giving a decent result.
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